Monday, August 12, 2013

Minnie Comic Con

We haven't said much about the Disney version of San Diego's Comic Convention. But plenty of other people did.

... Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger kicked off the D23 Expo on Friday with a nod to Walt Disney: “Animation will always be the heart of Disney,” he told thousands inside the Anaheim Convention Center’s arena.

“This company was built from (Disney’s) imagination and his extraordinary vision,” Iger said, noting that he’s only the sixth executive to ever run Disney. “Every one of us has done our best to honor his legacy and to stay true to his innovation. … We’re proud of that legacy.”

Iger was clearly in his element on stage Friday, the charming ringleader speaking to the masses of Disney superfans gathered over the next three days to take part in the fanfest Disney produces every other year as its version of Comic-Con. This is the company’s third year hosting D23 across the street from Disneyland. ...

... Over the weekend you had the usual bits and pieces from Pixar, Disney Animation, Marvel Studios, and some of the upcoming live-action tent poles. For example, Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance to plug next summer’s Maleficent, in which she plays the Sleeping Beauty villain in a film told from her point of view. But the best news is what we learned about J.J. Abrams’s upcoming summer 2015 tent pole Star Wars Episode 7. We learned absolutely nothing about Star Wars Episode 7. ...

"Thor" director Kenneth Branagh brings [Cinderella], the impoverished, unlucky heroine to the screen once more. ... Branagh showed a screen test with the new Cinderella (Downton Abbey’s Lily James) wearing a makeshift blue gown meant to represent the one she’ll wear to the ball. As the Prince, Richard Madden of Game of Thrones will be a “funny, smart, sexy prince. A great complimentary match for Cinderella,” said Branagh. Cate Blanchett’s wicked stepmother will be at turns wicked, but also witty, and Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother will be “warm and tender and funny.” Branagh says she’s the “voice who lets us know that all will be well.”

10:49: Short film has the boys of the OK fraternity trying to throw a party, only to have it be a real bust. Then Mike and Sully burst in and decide to use the special doors to steal all of the food and guests from a competing frat party. Absolutely hilarious. It will be attached to The Good Dinosaur next summer!

10:51: Now it’s time to talk about The Good Dinosaur! Lasseter says that the big question that starts every Pixar project is “What if….” He says this is their biggest “what if”… After a video presentation the question is revealed as, “What if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs missed the Earth?”

10:52: Director Pete Sohn and Producer Denise Ream on stage! Sohn was also the voice of Squishy in Monsters University, which gets a huge applause.

10:54: Ream says that the crew is still hard at work on the film, but they want to give us a preview. Sohn shows that all of the dinosaurs come in different shapes and sizes. Weirdly, the dinosaurs are described to be similar to farmers, with each one being similar to farming equipment. ...

Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof might not have had star power to promote their upcoming film “Tomorrowland” at D23 — the film’s George Clooney did not appear at the Anaheim expo Saturday morning — but they did bring the “dusty old box” that inspired the mystery adventure set for release next year.

The duo took to the D23 stage near the end of the studio’s live-action presentation Saturday, opening the box, which was supposedly found in the studio’s archives and is labeled “1952.”

Together, they reviewed certain of the contents it initially contained, before introducing a bit of evocative animation that had been found inside, but it’s still not exactly clear what the new movie, which Bird is producing and directing, in addition to co-writing with Lindelof, is actually about. ...

And so on and so forth. (And who says there's no second ... or fifth? ... acts in Show Biz? I'm old enough to remember when Brad Bird was a young, loud-mouthed, long hair in the Disney animation department and got himself fired by management for being young and loud-mouthed. They didn't care about the long hair.)

Disney gets how many folks to come out to the D23s? Fifty thousand? Seventy thousand? Whatever the numbers are, I imagine the Mouse is happy with the cash flow and promotional aspects, but mostly the promotion. Judging from the articles, videos and copy that litters the internet, they get a modicum of bang for their buck.


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